In the near future, D-to-C selling will be an imperative for manufacturers hoping to compete and grow brand loyalty. Those not offering online shopping invite brand skepticism, if not scorn, among consumers who visit a site only to find that the shelves are bare. The cost is more than a one-time sale lost; it can mean brand degradation that inflicts long-term damage on a manufacturer's fortunes. With concessions to retail partners and the right technology, manufacturers will be well on their way to meeting the D-to-C mandate.
The drive by savvy retailers to differentiate themselves in 2013 and beyond will compel them to engage in an omnichannel "retail arms race" to deliver the most advanced, customized experience across all touchpoints with customers. Forward-looking IT departments will confront the challenges of integrating new capabilities by future-proofing their commerce architectures. The smartest merchants are getting a head start in the arms race by embracing next-generation cloud solutions, purpose-built to deliver five key capabilities for omnichannel commerce: